Moneyland Book Summary - Moneyland Book explained in key points
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Moneyland summary

Oliver Bullough

Why Thieves and Crooks Now Rule the World and How to Take It Back

4.4 (289 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

'Moneyland' by Oliver Bullough exposes the world of the ultra-rich elite and how they use offshore financial havens to evade taxes, launder money, and hide their wealth, leading to a global network of corruption and illegal dealings.

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    Postwar efforts to stabilize markets quickly failed.

    Prior to World War II, global finance was relatively unregulated. Money flowed rapidly among nations; it destabilized currencies and caused poverty and widespread social unrest, both factors in the outbreak of the war.

    Years later, with victory in sight, the Allied powers turned their attention to preventing this situation from arising again. To this end, they decided that the value of national currencies would no longer be determined by market fluctuations. Instead, they would be tied to the US dollar, the value of which was pegged to US gold reserves, a stabilizing force.

    The Allies also agreed that in the future, money would only be allowed to travel overseas in the form of long-term investments. Risky, short-term international investments were strictly prohibited. It was a bold and effective move – but it wasn't to last.

    The key message here is: Postwar efforts to stabilize markets quickly failed.

    These new international financial regulations worked well for a time. But before long, bankers started exploiting loopholes in the new laws. For example, although the US government oversaw American banks and regulated their loans to ensure stability, it couldn’t interfere with dollars that were stored overseas. As a result, London bankers could do what they liked with the dollars they controlled – the British government simply didn’t care. 

    This uprooted currency became known as eurodollars, and it could flow among countries just like in the old days. This was the first blow to the stable postwar framework.

    Not long afterward, eurodollars were joined by an even more daring financial innovation, known as eurobonds

    These new bonds were different from investments of the past. Through clever planning and artful negotiation with European authorities, bankers gave this new type of investment a whole host of attractive features. For a start, the profits earned on eurobonds were tax-free – but that’s not all. 

    In the past, institutions that issued bonds had to record the personal details of those buying them. Eurobonds did away with this restriction. In fact, eurobonds weren't tied to individuals at all; issuing institutions simply gave buyers a coupon to be redeemed when the loan’s term had elapsed. This made them enormously appealing to individuals seeking to hide wealth.

    This situation was a far cry from the ideals that the Allies had advanced at the end of World War II. Instead of reining in the world of global finance, their new regulations inadvertently ushered in a new, more aggressive market – and money went global as never before.

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    What is Moneyland about?

    Moneyland (2018) is a revealing – and worrying – examination of the lengths to which the rich and corrupt will go in order to keep their money safe. From Nevadan trusts and Angolan oil fields to Russian assassins and tropical islands, this book tracks dirty money, no matter where it goes.

    Moneyland Review

    Moneyland (2018) by Oliver Bullough gives a gripping account of the hidden world where the super-rich store their wealth and evade taxes. Here's why this book is a must-read:

    • With investigative journalism and interviews, the book offers eye-opening insights into how the global elite manipulate the financial system for their benefit.
    • By exploring the stories of individuals and corporations, it reveals shocking facts about the extent of corruption and how it affects society at large.
    • The author's meticulous research and ability to explain complex ideas in a clear and accessible manner makes the book a captivating and thought-provoking read.

    Best quote from Moneyland

    Tax havens can be bullied into coughing up information about their clients, but the United States cannot.

    —Oliver Bullough
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    Who should read Moneyland?

    • Current affairs addicts
    • Billionaires trying to protect their assets
    • Anyone working in finance

    About the Author

    Oliver Bullough is an award-winning non-fiction writer from Wales whose work has focused extensively on Russia and Eastern Europe. His writing has appeared in The New York Times and The Guardian, and on the BBC. He is also the author of The Last Man in Russia and Let Our Fame Be Great.

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    Moneyland FAQs 

    What is the main message of Moneyland?

    The main message of Moneyland is the hidden world of the super-rich and the impact of their wealth on politics and society.

    How long does it take to read Moneyland?

    Reading time for Moneyland varies, but it takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Moneyland a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Moneyland is worth reading. It uncovers the corruption and secrecy surrounding the global elite and provides eye-opening insights.

    Who is the author of Moneyland?

    Oliver Bullough is the author of Moneyland.

    What to read after Moneyland?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Moneyland, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson
    • Dark Money by Jane Mayer
    • Phishing for Phools by George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller
    • The House of Rothschild by Niall Ferguson
    • Narrative Economics by Robert J. Shiller
    • Who Can You Trust? by Rachel Botsman
    • Orientalism by Edward W. Said
    • The Hidden Wealth of Nations by Gabriel Zucman
    • Young Money by Kevin Roose
    • Rich AF by Vivian Tu